Planning Today for a Greener Tomorrow: Urban Forestry, Climate Equity, and Community Resilience in the Metro Denver Region
Partner: The Nature Conservancy of Colorado
Group Members: Lorena Gonzalez, Kayli Skinner, Kiana Seto, Melissa Englund
The purpose of this Capstone project, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) of Colorado, is to create a report that will help the City and County of Denver build a healthier, more resilient, and equitable urban environment through tree canopy coverage in the Denver Metro region. The overarching scope is to increase tree canopy and urban forestry benefits in vulnerable, underserved areas. Students at the University of Colorado Denver are currently analyzing Denver's urban forestry program and determining gaps in priority areas compared to other cities' planning processes. The MENV team will continue this research with a focus on coordinating roles and responsibilities for the planning, implementation, and maintenance of urban trees while enhancing equitable distribution of tree canopy. The students will propose recommendations for promising practices to the City and County of Denver. The team's data collection will be a product of stakeholder surveys and interviews that examine the effectiveness of other cities’ urban forestry programs. They will identify other cities' tree planting strategies, challenges they encountered during the planning and implementation phases, the cost of their urban forestry programs, and determine how they collaborate between the varying roles and responsibilities in urban forestry. Moreover, the students will examine socioeconomic and demographic trends in target cities to analyze tree canopy distribution through Google StreetView and GIS software. Their findings will be presented in three tentative deliverables: a final report for TNC and the City and County of Denver, a GIS StoryMap for a public audience, and presentations to the internal TNC team and to external stakeholders.